January 26, 2010

Nokia N900 Review

Nokia N900 is the final product which opens up a new path for the Finnish smartphone producer. After Google, which launched its new open source operating system for mobile phones, Nokia raised the stakes a few months later with its own vision, which is called Maemo. Android OS, as well as Maemo are both based on the well-known Linux platform, but they are pretty much different because they are the results of two different working teams. Before getting into more in-depth information, do not overlook the fact that we will be reviewing an Internet tablet, with some limited phone capabilities.

So, be aware that some of the features that you'll probably be expecting from such a device might be missing. Also, bear in mind that Nokia might, or might not, add some new basic features or new complex ones in the future firmware updates, but do not rely on that. In the end, to quote one of the Nokia's officials: "N900 has become the high-end line-up of smartphones for Nokia and all other Maemo devices that will be launched will have specific high-end features". So, expect high prices for the next Maemo devices, but on the other hand, the Nseries prices might drop.

Nokia N900 has been announced in August 2009 and made available on the market in November same year. The device is only available in Black and can be acquired for about $700 USD.


The first time I saw Nokia N900, I was afraid its too bulky and ugly for my tastes. Automatically, I have compared it in my mind with the new Android smartphones and saw the N900 losing on all aspects. Fortunately, things are not as it seems at first glance, and Nokia N900 is really a very nice and stylish device. Yes, the device is pocketsizable and yes, it's big and heavy (110.9x59.8x18mm and 181g including battery), but it looks much better than HTC Touch Pro or any other bulky Pocket PC. It feels nice to the touch thanks to the matte plastic on the back, which also helps users have a good grip over the device.

The only drawback that I found is the shiny material that covers the front part of the device, which is a fingerprint magnet. Still, the rest of the device is looking very good and, for me at least, it seemed ergonomic enough to be able to handle it with ease. Once you get used to its look and to its buttons layout, everything should work smoothly. In fact, besides the QWERTY keyboard the device doesn't really have too many external buttons. If you keep the N900 in portrait mode, you'll be able to notice on the right side a volume key near the top, a small power on/off button at the middle and a dedicated camera key near the bottom. On top of the smartphone, there's a microUSB port, as well as one of the two stereo speakers. The other stereo speaker can be found on the bottom of the phone, together with a 3.5mm port jack and a small sliding key which locks/unlocks the touchscreen.

There's also a plastic stylus placed on the bottom left corner of the device, but I haven't used it too much. Above the generous touchscreen, there's a secondary videocall camera, as well as a small ambient light sensor and the in-call speaker. The backside of the smartphone features a nice 5 megapixels camera, which is protected by a sliding cover. When opened, it will also reveal a dual LED flash and Carl Zeiss optics.

The camera is surrounded by a thin plastic strip, which can help users watch movies in a more relaxed position without the need of keeping the phone in hand. When the device is slided, it will reveal a full QWERTY keyboard that features 38 small keys. While the layout is good, I still had the feeling that the buttons are too small and a little bit too crowded. Still, that doesn't makes a bad impression and texters will be happy to find that the keyboard is actually very nice to the touch and responsive enough to be able to text without mistakes. The backlighting of the keyboard is good and very nice, with a bluish light that shows all the keys.

Overall, Nokia N900's finishes are exquisite and puts it in front of many other (ex)high-end Nokia devices, in terms of design and ergonomics. The rounded shapes of the device also recommend it as an easy-to-carry smartphone and really good-looking business tool.

Display and Camera

Nokia N900 features a large 3.5-inch TFT resistive touchscreen, which supports 16 million colors and 800x480 pixels resolution. It also includes features like proximity sensor for auto turn-off and accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate. Perfectly visible in the sunlight, the display is also surprisingly responsive for a resistive touchscreen. In fact, first time I used the device, I tought that Nokia finally made its first capacitive touchscreen, but is seems that I was mistaken. The display is still resistive, but very well crafted, so you will barely feel the difference when it comes to responsiveness. Of course, you won't be able to take advantage of features like multi-touch, but I'd say this is a pretty good display. It is also well-protected against scratches, which is a big advantage as the device doesn't feature a leather case or something close to that.

Of course, you could buy one, but the fact remains that you won't have any troubles with scratches unless you are fool enough to keep it in the same pocket with your keys, which I doubt it, as the device is pretty big to not fit in the pocket with anything else. Moreover, Nokia N900 includes a dedicated PowerVR SGX graphics CPU with OpenGL ES 2.0 support that enhances multimedia experience, which implies running games or movies on the screen. I only noticed a small drawback and that is the fact that you won't be able to use the phone in portrait mode unless you set the device to turn to dial mode as soon as you unlock the screen. Otherwise, you will be stuck to the landscape view. Further, the transgression to portrait mode doesn't function well enough, and you might end up clicking on the Phone icon on one of the additional homescreens.

N900 also includes a 5-megapixels camera, but this is not just a usual camera. Nokia has put in some effort into this and managed to embed a nice camera with autofocus, dual LED flash and Carl Zeiss optics. You can take snapshots either in 5-megapixel high resolution or use the more unsual, but very cool 3.5-megapixel wide resolution. I had some doubts before actually using the camera to take pictures, knowing the level of technology that Nokia usually puts into its smartphones. Enough said, these doubts fade away once I started to take some snapshots. I was amazed by the accuracy of the camera, especially when using the 3.5-megapixel wide resolution.

The pictures are simply excellent, even when you don't benefit from the best light. The night pictures are also pretty decent, but you will need to be somewhat close to the subject that you intend to capture as the dual LED flash has its limit. The interface of the camera is pretty standard for such a camera and easy to use. Users will be able to change resolution, White balance, ISO sensitivity and Exposure. Camera mode can be set on Automatic (default) or you can choose one of these options: Macro, Landscape, Portrait, Action.

Camera also includes the geo-tagging feature video light. For those of you that are interested in video capturing, I'll have to say that Nokia N900 excels to that too. It can record clips in WVGA(848 x 480)@25fps, which is pretty nice. Check out the samples below to get an idea of what this high-end device can do with its camera.

Menu and Software

Maemo 5 is the first open source operating system coming from Nokia, and a new one coming from the Finnish giant for a long time. As its base stays in the Linux OS, you will probably notice lots of similitudes with Google's Android, which has about the same roots. First of all, Nokia N900 runs Maemo 5, version 1.2009.42-11, which will probably receive upgrades in the future. Anyway, the main thing that I noticed is the "lack" of freezes or errors. I haven't gotten any of the usual lock-ups that Symbian smartphones have from time to time and that made me really happy.

Secondly, I noticed that the device runs pretty smooth without slacking at all, even when more applications are running in the background. Yes, you can run multiple apps and can go back to whichever app you were running previously, as long as it has been alt-tabbed in the background. The operating system keeps them resident in memory and you can go back to it from the homescreen.

Basically, it works like a task manager with all the minimized apps showing on the homescreen like small windows, which can be easily clicked. Just like the first Android version, Maemo 5 features 4 different homescreens, which can be browsed by swiping your finger to the left or to the right of the screen. These can be customized with new shortcuts, widgets, bookmarks and many more. By default the homescreens contain: Calendar, contacts, phone, email; Ovi Store and Maemo store; Weather widget; Twitter, Facebook and Google widgets, as well as shortcuts to Ovi account, Ovi maps, Gallery, Ovi gallery and Email. To each and everyone of these homescreens can be added more shortcuts, contacts, widgets or they can be emptied.

The interface is even simpler than Symbian's, but it can also become more complex if you are into the homescreen customization. Clicking the upper left corner icon will get you into the main menu of the device, which presents you with 15 icons, simetrically arranged: Web, Media player, Calendar, Photos, Contacts, Phone, Maps, Camera, E-mail, Conversations, Clock, Calculator, Store, Settings and More ...

Clicking the latter will open up the second window of the main menu, which contains even more functions and apps: Notes, PDF Reader, File manager, RSS, Sketch, App manager, Backup, Get started (demo movie), X Terminal, Amazon, AP News, Facebook, ForecaWeather, Documents To Go, and some games (Blocks, Chess, Mahjong and Marbles). As the device doesn't really feature a Back key, you can click either on top or at the bottom of every menu to go back one step (click on empty space and not on any of the icons). Another interesting feature that I found is the fact that you can quickly access Profiles, Clock & Alarms, Bluetooth and Internet connection by clicking clock or the battery icon that appears on top left of any of the homescreens.

Nokia N900 is not a phone, but an Internet tablet and that really shows when it comes to phone features. It's even funny as you won't have access to a dialer pad unless you make a shortcut on one of the homescreens that will get you into the phone functions of the device. There's also another option that enables users to get right into dialer pad or call history, as soon as they unlock the touchscreen and keep the device in portrait mode, but that doesn't always responds, so you will need to click on the shortcut from time to time.

Anyway, the place where Nokia N900 really excels is the web browsing experience. There is simply no other device that can reach to this level of accuracy in redering web pages, as well as speed of loading. Moreover, the Mozilla-based browser features Adobe Flash 9.4 and not the "weakly" Flash Lite, which is common to most high-end devices as of lately. If you usually visit webpages rich in Flash content, this is the right device for you.

Zooming in and out can be easily done by double tapping on the spot you want to zoom or by simply making a spiral gesture on the screen. I personally recommend the first option as it works flawless and is very fast. The panning and adjustings of the pages are excellent, which makes N900 the best Internet tablet there is on the market at the moment.

Unfortunately, Nokia N900 is not compatible with any Symbian or Java applications, but I think the Maemo store has some good third-party apps if you want more customization for your device.


Nokia N900 features all the possible connectivity techs that are available: HSDPA (10 Mbps) and HSUPA (2 Mbps), GPRS and EDGE class 32 High-Speed Circuit-Switched Data (57.6 kbps) and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, DLNA, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP support, microUSB 2.0 and Infrared.

When connecting the USB cable, you'll be able to choose among two modes: PC Suite, Mass storage. Both are intuitive and easy to use, so there's nothing more to add here. The process of synching is very fast, browsing and transfers are made very quickly between phone and PC and the device is also charghing when is synched with the PC.

The built-in GPS receiver supports A-GPS function and works flawlessly together with the newly renamed Ovi Maps.

In terms of messaging, the device offers standard SMS messaging solutions, accepting all available message types, but lacks MMS support. The message client works with POP3, SMTP, and IMAP4 protocols, and supports more than one e-mail account. Additionally, it can download headers and supports attachments. Nokia N900 also benefits from Skype and GoogleTalk VoIP integration, which might come in handy whenever you have it available as it cuts short the bills.

N900 is quad-band GSM (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900) compatible, but also supports HSDPA 900 /1700 / 2100 GSM networks. I didn't have any problems with the GSM signal and the sound at both ends was excellent. Video-calls are also not available for Nokia N900.

Processor and Memory

Nokia N900 is powered by a single TI OMAP 3430 ARM Cortex-A8 family processor running at speeds of up to 600 Mhz. Further, the device also benefits from a dedicated graphics processor PowerVR SGX with OpenGL ES 2.0 support for better graphics rendering. Suffice it to say that I haven't encountered any lags or freezes, while the movies that I watched and the games I played really worked flawlessly.

The smartphone embeds 32 GB user free internal storage memory, 256 MB SDRAM memory and 768 MB NAND Memory. If that storage space is not enough for you (which I doubt), you will be able to add up to 16GB through the hot-swappable microSD slot card. The latter can be found after removing the back hood of the device.


Even though it has been tagged as an Internet Tablet, Nokia N900 includes decent multimedia features. The included music player supports audio formats such as: AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, M4A, MP3, WAV and WMA. Sound is impressive, but doesn't reach any of Sony Ericsson's Walkman series standards. Another drawback might be the fact that it lacks any Equalizer options, so you will be stuck with the raw sound of the song.

Thanks to the 3.5mm jack port users will be able to plug-in their own headphone, if they're not satissfied by the earphones in the sales package (WH-205), which by the way sound pretty nice.

Nokia N900 also features an Internet radio and and FM Transmitter. Stereo FM Radio is only available via third party software. The thing that amazed me is the quality of the movie playback. The video player included uses its 3.5-inch screen at its full potential and can now read DivX and Xvid files, besides 3GPP formats (H.263), AVI, Flash Video, H.264/AVC, MPEG-4, WMV. Even if it's only for the movie playback, I could say that this device is worth a try even for those that aren't looking for a business phone.


The 1320 mAh Li-Ion (BL-5J) battery has an officially stated life expectancy of about 9 hours in talk time mode (5 hours for 3G). Also, Nokia didn't state any standby time as it thinks that the device will always be online and have an active connection. Basically, it has been designed to last about 1-day of continous usage. While I wasn't able to achieve the 5-hour talk time promised, our test unit made it for about 2 days with medium use. Unfortunately, I found the battery autonomy a little bit poor, even though I have expected it. Maybe one of the future firmwares will improve these numbers.


I found the N900 one of the best Internet tablets on the market, even though there are only a few. Moreover, adding phone functions and a new operating system was very good idea, as it now stands for an excellent business phone also. Stuffed with lots of Web-browsing abilities, multimedia features, a user-friendly interface and a pretty decent camera, Nokia N900 really worths to be put into Nokia's new high-end class series.

The Good

Maemo operating system is really a hit, even though not that complex and developed as Android, it really shows potential. Add to that the excellent Web-browsing capabilities, HSDPA connectivity, excellent touchscreen, as well as decent camera and you got yourself a really good smartphone. The QWERTY keyboard is also a nice addition to the features of the phone, as well as the Wi-Fi connectivity.

The Bad

I think the only drawback of the phone is the low life autonomy of the battery, and the high price as well, which could be a setback for those that have a limited budget. Also, limited number of third-party software is an important disadvantage, if we are to compare it with Android.

Sales Package

Nokia N900 Internet Tablet
Nokia Battery 1320 mAh (BL-5J)
Nokia High Efficiency Charger (AC-10)
Nokia Stereo Headset (WH-205)
Video out cable (CA-75U)
Nokia charger adaptor (CA-146C)
Cleaning cloth
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January 11, 2010

Boost the sound quality with JVC XS-SR3 iPod speaker system

Nearly each new day comes with new amazing gadget. This time it is new JVC XS-SR3 iPod speaker system. This design is impossible to mix with anything else. New JVC gadget is sleek and glossy, very unusually shaped. Looks like curved tube, wrapped around iPod holder. It was created to capture entire iPod line that is available on market: mini, video and photo, classic and newest touch technology devices. Unfortunately is not compatible with iPhone. Gadget is available in black or white color.

The iPod holder is located in the middle of this construction and can be rotated in different directions for best viewing. Specially designed four clips will hold inserted gadget vertically or horizontally. Vertical hold is good for music listening, and horizontal is ideal to watch widescreen video. Two-cradle 2.5W tubular speaker system is created to simulate an illusion of surround sound, and it really works.

New JVC device is armed with Dolby Virtual Surround support, remote control is included, two audio inputs (digital optical and analog), power output is 5 watts. Additional point to JVC XS-SR3 is that it also can be used as PC speaker system, with portable DVD players, different gaming systems or with portable TVs. This gadget with boosted audio quality that comes with many fine features is made in Japan and will be available soon.
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No disappointments with Casio Pathfinder Triple Sensor Multi-functional Digital Watch PAG40-7

These days each store has all kinds of watches offers. Casio authentic quality watch on affordable price can be a dream but also a reality. Now in the season of winter holidays and discounts it is best time for hunting. So what shall we get if our trophy will be Casio Pathfinder Triple Sensor Multi-Functional Digital Watch?

It is rather difficult to find a man without general idea about Casio quality, thus I will skip it. First of all I would like to mention that design and style is definitely sportive. Impossible not to see that it is really big size watches (case diameter 51mm, thickness 17.5mm, bind width 27.7mm). It is just perfect for big watches amateurs. If your wrist is not that big, it could be a problem. Now about Casio Pathfinder Triple Sensor watch main functions. It has 2 LCDs of different colors (green is for functions, blue for compass). This watch is very easy to adjust, comes with pretty many features: few alarms, compass, barometer, altitude indicator, and of course big readable time numbers. Background light is very good for reading, adjusting or even auxiliary needs as to find keyholes. Though I am not big fan of resin bands, but this one is very comfortable for wear and looks durable enough. Case is also made from resin. Calendar mode: day-date-and-month, movement - Japanese quartz, water resistant (330 Feet depth).

Summary: This Casio gadget is a really nice piece - very functional, quality and mode how it works is above expectations. Big in size and precise to the second. If somebody got no idea about Christmas gift - this one from Casio can be pretty, worthy and affordable.
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Samsung Touts the 'Potential of bada'

Samsung says bada has potential in today's smartphone market

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung announced not to long ago the launch of its own operating system aimed at mobile phones, namely bada, which is expected to arrive on a wide range of the company's handsets in 2010. The handset vendor already unveiled a series of details regarding the platform, and now some more details on it have been brought to light, in an attempt to demonstrate that this is an operating system which has the potential of attracting users on its side.

According to Samsung, it will pre-load bada mainly on a series of touchscreen-enabled mobile phones during the ongoing year. The company aims at releasing more touch phones in 2010 when compared to the number of such devices it launched last year, and it expects to see even higher sales volumes than it already did. Around 40 million of the total of more than 200 million handsets Samsung sold last year were touchscreen devices, and the company says that this shows that its “touch screen handset has come to meet the requirements of main stream consumers.”

What appeals most to users at a touchscreen device is the intuitive user interface, says Samsung, adding that this is the main area where the bada team focused. “We, the bada team, have focused on more innovative user interface, service oriented features and extensible core functions. We also have full support plans for developers such as the developer challenge, the developer’s day and the developer site, to win together. With bada’s specialized components and support system, developers can easily create values for customers and opportunities for themselves,” a recent post on the bada blog notes.

The smartphone market is getting more crowded each day, especially with popular operating systems out there being pre-loaded on more and more new handsets. When launched on the market, bada will face great competition from other touch-oriented platforms, such as Android, Windows Mobile or the Symbian OS. Even so, Samsung's position in the mobile industry, and the fast take up of touchscreen devices should offer bada a nice start base, and this is why Samsung says that “it is sure that bada devices will successfully make enough market size for the smartphone ecosystem.”
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Ultra small Agent HD Video Recording Camera

Ultra small, unique and delicately designed - this way we can characterize this gadget. Agent Cam HD Video Recording camera is a useful gadget in many situation when is necessary to have some memories recorded. Any records could be made and saved. Time with family, business meetings, sport events, outdoor activity, evidence collector, security aim - only are few useful clues where Agent Cam HD will be useful. This small high resolution DVR cam allows to record up to 6 hours of video.

Micro Mini DVR cam is a universal miniaturized piece to carry it anywhere. Reliable construction made from metal and glass, with USB port and Led indicator. Plug and play option for Windows or later editions. Micro Mini Cam is compatible with Windows 98SE / ME / 2000 / Vista / XP. Gadget dimension: 50mm x 50mm x 15mm (LxWxD).


- Model name: HS-WDVR01 Watch DVR
- Memory: 2 GB MicroSD in included
- Format: AVI (640*480), 15ÀÇÑ
- MIC: built-in
- Power source: integrated battery that is recharged directly via USB port or with charger.
- Display mode: Analog 12 hours (hour, minute, second)

This Micro Mini DVR cam is a universal miniaturized piece to carry it anywhere. Reliable construction made from metal and glass, with USB port and Led indicator. Comes with all necessary set of functions to record video.
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January 5, 2010

Spracht Aura Headset Might Just Be Coolest Ever

The Spracht Aura, ladies and gentlemen, may sound like a total kludge in terms of naming conventions, but I can assure you that anyone who calls this the coolest Bluetooth headset ever is not speaking out of turn, but is rather arguably correct.

Sure, any time you introduce value judgments like anything involving the suffix “-est”, you have a grey area in terms of accuracy, but this one is definitely a competitor, if nothing else. It has a PAIR of microphones implanted in it to ensure that your side of the conversation WILL be heard by the other party. It’s also got a six-band equalizer to make sure YOU get THEIR end. How about the volume control that you activate by just SLIDING YOUR FINGER along the base of the earpiece? It’s capacitive!

And as if all that weren’t good enough for you, I give you one last thing to consider–when these come out in March, you’ll be able to get one for just eighty bucks.
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Bluetooth Handheld Keyboard and Touchpad

If you’re not feeling Lenovo’s Bluetooth Trackball Keyboard setup then checkout Brando’s offering, the iPazzPort Bluetooth Handheld Keyboard and Touchpad. Instead of a trackball or mouse, it incorporates a trackpad complimented by a backlit keyboard. Connectivity comes by way of Bluetooth making it widely compatible with most home theater PCs and includes a rechargeable battery, all for $62.

The Bluetooth Handheld Keyboard and Touchpad is a palm-sized keyboard which consist of 48 key + touchpad. Its portable and tiny design can be used for travel, school, or any other working environment. It is especially suitable for HTPC.

# Features: Bluetooth remote controls of your computer with distance about 10M
# Bluetooth Standard: Bluetooth V.2.0; HID V1.0
# 48 keys handheld style keyboard with Touchpad
# Backlight keyboard for convenient operation in darkness
# Built-in rechargeable battery
# On/Off button
# Support Window 7 / Vista / XP / 2000, Mac, Linux, PS3
# Dimension: 82 x 125 x 8mm (approx.)
# Weight: 73g

# Black
# White

Package Contents:
# Bluetooth Handheld Keyboard and Touchpad
# USB Charging Cable
# User's Manual
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Google Phone, Nexus One, Now Available

I’m really not all that excited about the prospect of a Google phone, but I’m sure there are more than enough of you out there. Today the search giant finally made the Google Nexus phone official. In fact, you can purchase it right now. Unlocked it will cost you $529, or you can opt for a 2-year contract which will knock it down to $179 after carrier discounts. If you’re not pleased with any of those options than just hold out a bit longer since Google has made it abundantly clear that the Nexus phone will hit Verizon Sprint 2010. And if you can’t wait that long for either you can always opt for the DROID, which Google has happily placed a link to on the Nexus One product page – looks like they’re trying to make nice with Verizon.

Specs breakdown like this:

* 3.7-inch AMOLED touchscreen display (800×480)
* 5 megapixel camera with LED flash
* 720 video capture at 20 fps
* 1400 mAH battery
* 1Ghz Qualcomm QSD 8250 processor
* Android Mobile Technology Platform 2.1 (Eclair)
* microSD card slot expandable up to 32GB (includes 4GB card)
* WiFi
* Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
Read More..

January 4, 2010

HIS Radeon HD 5970 Review

About three months ago, Sunnyvale, California-based Advanced Micro Devices officially unveiled its latest series of desktop graphics cards, namely the Radeon HD 58xx family of GPUs. Launched at a time when a considerable number of reports were indicating that both AMD and NVIDIA had problems with TSMC's 40nm manufacturing technology, the series came with a list of new features that were mainly meant to enhance the visual experience of desktop PC users. In addition, the series was outed at a time when NVIDIA wasn't expected to immediately come up with something that would compete with the fresh Radeon GPUs.

The first series of 40nm-based, DirectX 11-compatible GPUs was launched back in late September, with the chip maker introducing two new cards, the 5850 and its fresh flagship, the Radeon HD 5870. Both cards were said to be capable of delivering an impressive performance, thanks to their powerful GPUs and the unique list of features. However, the HD 5870 stayed on top only for some time, as AMD had bigger plans. The chip maker later released the dual-GPU Radeon HD 5970, a high-end graphics card somewhat different from the previous dual-GPU Radeon cards.

The HD 5970 was released back in November, following a series of leaked details that further increased anticipation around the new card. When it was officially introduced, the card's specifications were nothing short of impressive, packing a total processing power of 4.64 TeraFLOPS, making AMD's flagship Radeon card the king of desktop graphics.

However, the high processing power of the chip maker's latest release came at a cost and one that is still considered as rather exclusive. Aside from its performance capabilities, the Radeon HD 5970 was accompanied by a series of minimum requirements that would dig a considerable hole in the user's budget. Nevertheless, this was a card for the enthusiast market, something that AMD made very clear since the official debut of the gadget.

On that note, we were presented with the opportunity of testing AMD's flagship card, a dual-GPU behemoth that comes with its own list of demands. We put the card through its paces and even had time to play a couple of games, using one of the new features that AMD introduced with the launch of its new generation of Radeon graphics cards. We will try to cover as many key points as possible, with our review of the Radeon HD 5970, including the performance aspects, but also details about the company, its products and the overall market. Without further ado, we'll be taking you on a very nice journey.
Some time has passed since the world's second largest chip maker officially announced the debut of its latest graphics monster, the Radeon HD 5970. However, we were thrilled at the idea of getting to test the world's fastest card, which is why we decided to do some planning, before the card arrived in our labs. We built a new rig, with some of the latest components out there and patiently waited the arrival of the dual-GPU Radeon HD 5970 monster.

The card came from HIS, featuring a reference design, cooler and clock frequencies. That was all fine by us, as we did want to take a look at what AMD's reference board is capable of, without any interference from the graphics card vendor, specifically regarding the card's cooler, clock speed or other settings. Now, we should take a look at what the numbers that make up the Radeon HD 5970 are.

Manufacturer's technical specifications:

Engine clock speed: 725 MHz
Processing power (single precision): 4.64 TeraFLOPS
Processing power (double precision): 928 GigaFLOPS
Polygon throughput: 1.45 billion polygons/sec
Data fetch rate (32-bit): 464 billion fetches/sec
Texel fill rate (bilinear filtered): 116 Gigatexels/sec
Pixel fill rate: 46.4 Gigapixels/sec
Anti-aliased pixel fill rate: 185.6 Gigasamples/sec
Memory clock speed: 1.0 GHz
Memory data rate: 4.0 Gbps
Memory bandwidth: 256.0 GB/sec
Maximum board power: 294 Watts
Idle board power: 51 Watts.

The Radeon HD 5970 features a design similar to some of the other dual-GPU cards that AMD previously released. More specifically, this card couples two Cypress GPUs on a single PCB, paired together by a PLX bridge chip, which are cooled down by a massive vapor chamber that AMD claims to be capable of supporting up to 400W of thermal dissipation. We will get into more of these details later on, as for now, we will concentrate on the other features that have been made available with the new card.

As with all of AMD's latest generation of Radeon graphics cards, the HD 5970 will provide users with support for the new ATI Eyefinity technology, a solution that allows customers to connect up to three monitors for a wider visual experience. That's not all, the card also offers support for CrossFireX multi-GPU technology, which will enable high-end enthusiasts to connect two of these cards on a compatible motherboard, increasing performance and ultimately providing users with a high computing power.

Another of the innovations enabled by AMD's high-end card is the support for DirectX 11 graphics, as well as the OpenGL 3.0 support. In addition, as you have seen from the list of specifications, the card comes with an impressive idle board power, for a card in its class. The 51 watts specifications can be achieved by a feature that disables one of the card's GPUs, when the card is in idle and doesn't require the same level of performance to run applications.

Aside from being the fastest graphics card on the planet, the Radeon HD 5970 also manages to be the world's longest card, a design feature that you'll immediately notice when picking it up. The dual-slot cooling solution is featured with a back plate that is designed to keep the PCB cool, even when the card is overclocked

Another thing you will notice about the Radeon, as we did the first time we had it in our test labs, is that this is a card that will require some modifications, as far as your desktop chassis is concerned. The dual-GPU HD 5970 is a monster by all definitions. This card comes with a list of minimum requirements that you'll most likely find it challenging to accomplish. But we will get into to that later on, as we move to the part where we talk about the tests we have put this card through.

Now, before we get into the details about our experience with the card and its performance, we should talk a little about our platform and the testing methodology. As we said in the beginning of the article, we went through some trouble to get prepared for the arrival of this dual-GPU monster, which basically implies that we built a test rig for the new card and those to come.

With Intel having recently updated its entire line of mainstream desktop components, we decided to build a new platform on the fresh P55 chipset and the latest LGA 1156-compatible processors. The Gigabyte board we chose was designed to provide support for both NVIDIA SLI and ATI CrossFireX multi-GPU technologies, while the support for USB 3.0 and SATA 3.0 connectivity will enable us to work with future devices and storage solutions. In addition, we went for the Lynnfield-based Core i7 860 quad-core processor running at 2.8GHz, coupled with 4GB of DDR3 memory from Kingston. A 750W Corsair power supply was there to help us run the high-end rig and deliver the necessary juice to power AMD's dual-GPU monster.

Aside from that setup, we also took advantage of a couple of applications that are typically used for benchmarking and recording the performance of graphics cards and other computer hardware. This includes the famous 3DMark Vantage application, but also a couple of games. We need to note that, for these tests, we used the special Radeon HD 5970 graphics driver that is available through the company's driver support page. We also took advantage of no less than three 24-inch monitors, that we used to get a sense of what the company's ATI Eyefinity technology can provide, in terms of gameplay.

Test System:

Intel Core i7 860 2.8GHz processor
Gigabyte P55A-UD4 motherboard
Radeon HD 5970
4GB Kingston DDR3-1333MHz memory
Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB SATA hard drive
Integrated Audio and Network
Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit Operating system
ATI Catalyst 9.11 and special Catalyst driver for Radeon HD 5970
3DMark Vantage v1.0.1
Dirt 2
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